Phi Beta Kappa.

A Catalogue of the Cornell chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (Theta of New York) : 1882-1912 online

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I. A Brief History of the Society 5

II. The Constitution of the United Chapters 6

III. By-Laws of the United Chapters 8

IV. Officers and Senate of the United Chapters 9

V. List of Chapters 10

VI. History of the Theta of New York 12

VII. Charter of the Theta of New York ; . . . 13

VIII. The Chapter Constitution 14

IX. The Chapter By-Laws 14

X. A Catalogue of the Chapter 16



The Phi Beta Kappa Society was organized at the College of William
and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, on December 5, 1776. The founder and
first president was John Heath, with whom were associated Thomas Smith,
Richard Booker, Armisted Smith, and John Jones. It was a secret literary
and fraternal organization, having "Friendship for its basis, Benevolence
and Literature for its pillars." At the meetings there were debates, essays,
and declamations. The regulations were very strict. In the first five years
fifty members were received. In 1781, owing to the fortunes of war, the
Society became inactive and so continued until 1849, when William Short,
the last president in 1781, presided at' its resurrection. In 1861 the
chapter was again broken up by the^war, but it was revived in 1895.

Of the original fifty members one was Elisha Parmele, of the Harvard
class of 1779, who had gone south apparently for his health. On December
4, 1779, permission was granted him to establish the Society at Harvard
and Yale, to be known as the Alphas of Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut
respectively. In 1787 the two Northern Alphas united in voting a charter
to Dartmouth; and thirty years later (May 1, 1817) the fifth chapter was
organized at Union College. Other charters were granted by the various
Alphas, at considerable intervals, to Bowdoin, Brown, Trinity, Wesleyan,
Western Reserve, Vermont, Alabama (1851, extinct in 1860), Amherst, Ken-
yon, New York, Marietta, Williams, the College of the City of New York,
Middlebury, Rutgers, Columbia, Hamilton, Hobart, Colgate, and Cornell.
The ideals and degrees of literary activity varied among the different
chapters. The Dartmouth chapter, for example, in 1852 became a graduate
society; at Yale, on the other hand, emphasis has been placed on the under-
graduate side of the society. At the time of the anti-Masonic craze in
1831, the Harvard chapter, under the influence of President John Quincy
Adams, Judge Story, and others, became non-secret, and the other chapters
were induced to follow its example.

In 1881 the Harvard chapter, in celebrating its centennial anniversary,
led a movement to form a national organization. At Saratoga Springs in
September, 1882, a constitution was adopted, to become binding when
ratified by fourteen chapters. The first National Council was held in
September, 1883, and a council has been held once in three years ever
since. In these twenty-nine years the number of active chapters has
grown from twenty-four to seventy-seven and the number of living mem-
bers to something like twenty thousand.

The original badge was a square silver medal bearing on one side
the letters S. P., which stood for Societas Philosophiae, the original name
of the Society, and on the other side three stars, the letters Phi Beta
Kappa, and a hand pointing upward. In the standard gold key the Society
has returned to the original three stars.

The Society now publishes a quarterly magazine, The Key, which
contains matter of interest to all members. The subscription price is one
dollar for three years.



(As amended ~by the National Council, 1892.)


I. The National Council of the Phi Beta Kappa Society shall consist
of the Senators hereinafter spoken of, and of delegates from the several
Chapters of the Society. Each Chapter shall be entitled to send three
delegates, who shall be graduates of at least five years' standing and
members of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, but not necessarily of the Chapter
by which they are chosen.


II. The Senate shall originally consist of twenty Senators, chosen by
the delegates at the first session of the National Council, from the Society
at large. These shall be divided into two classes, whose terms of office
shall expire at the adjournment of alternate regular sessions of the
National Council. At every subsequent regular session the places of the
outgoing class shall be filled by election as follows: On the day preceding
the first day of each regular session of the National Council, the Senate
shall meet, and shall nominate fifteen candidates in addition to the mem-
bers of the outgoing class for the ten vacant seats, and also two candidates
for the unexpired term of each Senator who may have died or resigned
since the last regular session. Other persons not nominated by the Senate
may be presented as candidates at the time of the election. Of every ten
members whose term of office shall expire, one may be elected by the
Council Senator for life. In every election of Senators a majority of the
votes cast shall be required to elect, and in such elections the outgoing
Senators shall have no vote. The Senate may fill vacancies in its own
body till the next meeting of the National Council.


III. The officers of the National Council shall be a President, a Vice-
President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer, and such others as may be found
necessary from time to time. The President shall be chosen from among
the Senators.


IV. The National Council shall meet every third year at such place
and time as shall have been determined by the officers of the United
Chapters, and shall proceed at once to the election first of its officers and
next of the Senators. The National Council shall make such rules as may
be found necessary for the carrying out of any provision of this



V. During the sessions of the National Council the Senate shall have
no separate existence, but its members shall take their places with the
delegates as members of the National Council, voting with the delegates,
as well upon all other matters as upon the election of officers and Senators,
except as provided in Article II. When the National Council is not in
session the Senate shall constitute an independent body, charged with the
duty of representing the Phi Beta Kappa Society and speaking in its name,
and exercising, in addition, the functions of a permanent Executive Com-
mittee of the National Council. It shall hold its meetings at such times
and places as it shall determine, being first called together by that Senator
who, at the original election of the Senate, shall have been elected by the
largest number of votes. It shall recommend candidates for election as
Senators. It shall also have power^to call an extra session of the National
Council. It shall furthermore prepare and recommend to the consideration
of the National Council such matters as it may deem proper. It shall
transmit its lists of candidates and of matters recommended for discussion,
by the hands of the Secretary, to the presiding officer of the National
Council, immediately upon its organization being completed. It shall also
transmit, in the same manner, to the National Council, a report of its
doings between the sessions of the Council. Nothing herein shall be so
construed as to derogate from the right of the National Council to appoint
Committees to sit between sessions, independently of the Senate, and to
report at the next session.


VI. Applications for charters shall, in all cases, be made to the Senate,
at least six months before the regular session of the National Council;
the Senate shall at once notify all the chapters of such applications, and
such applications shall be reported to the National Council with the
recommendation of the Senate at the next meeting of the Council, and
shall be passed upon by the Council, which shall have exclusive power to
grant charters. But no charter shall be issued without the consent of
delegations representing a majority of the chapters.


VII. The National Council at any of its sessions, and the Senate at
any time, may respectively make such By-Laws and Rules of Order as
may be thought expedient for their use, provided the same be not incon-
sistent with any of the provisions of this Constitution. A quorum of the
National Council shall consist of delegates from a majority of the chapters
and not fewer than three Senators; the Senate shall determine the number
which shall constitute its quorum. [The present number is five.]


VIII. Nothing contained in this Constitution shall be construed as
empowering the Senate or the National Council to restrict or abridge the
rights or privileges now exercised by existing Chapters, except as ex-
pressly provided herein.



IX. No change shall be made in this Constitution unless the same
shall have been proposed at the session of the National Council next
preceding the session at which the proposed change is voted for; and no
vote shall be had upon any such proposed change except at a stated hour
previously ordered by the meeting, and no amendment shall be made
without the concurrence of the delegations of two-thirds of the Chapters
represented in the Council.


X. This Constitution shall take effect when ratified by fourteen
Chapters. [Sixteen chapters ratified it before July, 1883.]



I. All elections shall be by ballot. The President shall preside over
the meetings of the Council. In his absence the Vice-President shall per-
form his duties. When both are absent a president pro tempore shall be
chosen viva voce. The Secretary shall keep the records of the Council,
conduct its correspondence, and send to the Senate and to each chapter
a certified report of the proceedings of each session. The Treasurer shall
collect and disburse all funds of the Council, and report at each session
thereof. [At the Council of 1892, the treasurer requested that the financial
report be submitted to an auditor appointed by the president after its


II. (1) Calling the roll. (2) Reading the minutes. (3) Report of
'officers. (4) Communication from the Senate on nominations. (5)
Election of officers. (6) Election of Senators. (7) Communications from
the Senate on new chapters and other matters. (8) Miscellaneous business.


III. In all cases not otherwise provided for by the Constitution each
Senator and delegate present shall be entitled to cast one vote. [In estab-
lishing new chapters the Constitution requires a vote by delegations, each
delegation having one vote.]


IV. Each chapter shall pay to the Treasurer a triennial assessment of
ten dollars. [The Council of 1883 voted that the first assessment should
be due in 1884. The successive assessments have become due at intervals of
three years from that time, 1887, 1890, 1893, 1896, and so on.]



V. The proceedings of the Council, in all cases not provided for in
the Constitution, or the By-Laws, shall conform to the rules laid down in
Cushing's Manual.


VI. All applications for future charters shall have the endorsement of
at least five existing chapters prior to presentation to the Senate. No
charter shall be issued until those applying for the same have paid to the
Treasurer of the National Council fifty dollars as a franchise fee.


VII. These By-Laws, or any of them, may be suspended, altered, or
amended at any meeting of the Council by a two-thirds vote of the mem-
bers of the Council present and voting.




President, Professor Edwin Augustus Grosvenor, Amherst, Mass.
Vice-President, Colonel John James McCook, New York [died September

17, 1911].

Secretary and Treasurer, Rev. Oscar McMurtrie Voorhees, 350 East 146th

St., New York.

SENATORS, 1907-13.


Pres. Nicholas Murray Butler, Columbia 1907

Prof. Henry L. Chapman, Bowdoin 1895

Prof. Edwin A. Grosvenor, Amherst 1901

Pres. George E. MacLean, Iowa 1907

Prof. Augustus T. Murray, Stanford. 1907

Prof. James M. Page, Virginia 1910

Prof. Bliss Perry, Harvard 1910

Pres. Charles F. Thwing, Western Reserve 1895

Rev. Oscar M. Voorhees, Rutgers 1901

Pres. Mary E. Woolley, Mount Holyoke 1907

SENATORS, 1910-16.

Dean Edward A. Birge, Wisconsin 1904

Prof. Samuel Hart, Trinity 1892

Pres. A. Lawrence Lowell, Harvard 1910

Dr. Hamilton W. Mabie, Williams 1898

Hon. John J. McCook, Kenyon [died September 17, 1911] 1904


Prof. Clark S. Northup, Cornell 1910

Pres. Ellen F. Pendleton, Wellesley 1910

Prof. Edward B. Reed, Yale 1907

Pres. James M. Taylor, Vassar 1907

Prof. Talcott Williams, Columbia.. ..1904



53. Allegheny, Eta of Pennsylvania February 18, 1902

12. Amherst, Beta of Massachusetts August 9, 1853

77. Beloit, Beta of Wisconsin June 19, 1911

45. Boston, Epsilon of Massachusetts February 8, 1899

6. Bowdoin, Alpha of Maine February 22, 1825

7. Brown, Alpha of Rhode Island July 31, 1830

42. California, Alpha of California December 23, 1898

50. Chicago, Beta of Illinois July 1, 1899

47. Cincinnati, Delta of Ohio April 11, 1899

38. Colby, Beta of Maine January 3, 1896

23. Colgate, Eta of New York June 19, 1878

54. Colorado, Alpha of Colorado October 18, 1904

58. Colorado College, Beta of Colorado Nov. 11, 1904

20. Columbia, Delta of New York April 22, 1869

24. Cornell, Theta of New York May 28, 1882

4. Dartmouth, Alpha of New Hampshire August 20, 1787

73. Denison, Theta of Ohio January 18, 1911

28. De Pauw, Alpha of Indiana December 17, 1889

25. Dickinson, Alpha of Pennsylvania April 13, 1887

68. Franklin and Marshall, Theta of Pennsylvania January 30, 1908

63. Goucher, Beta of Maryland February 24, 1905

69. Grinnell, Beta of Iowa April 11, 1908

21. Hamilton, Epsilon of New York May 24, 1870

3. Harvard, Alpha of Massachusetts September 5, 1781

43. Haverford, Zeta of Pennsylvania January 20, 1899

22. Hobart, Zeta of New York : July 6, 1871

66. Illinois, Gamma of Illinois November 11, 1907

74. Indiana, Gamma of Indiana January 20, 1911

35. Iowa, Alpha of Iowa September 30, 1895

36. Johns Hopkins, Alpha of Maryland October 10, 1895

30. Kansas, Alpha of Kansas, April 2, 1890

13. Kenyon, Beta of Ohio June 29, 1858

31. Lafayette, Gamma of Pennsylvania m April 5, 1890

26. Lehigh, Beta of Pennsylvania '. April 15, 1887

15. Marietta, Gamma of Ohio June 9, 1860

76. Miami, Iota of Ohio June 14, 1911


67. Michigan, Alpha of Michigan November 13, 1907

18. Middlebury, Beta of Vermont August 17, 1868

34. Minnesota, Alpha of Minnesota December 13, 1892

52. Missouri, Alpha of Missouri December 5, 1901

61. Mount Holyoke, Theta of Massachusetts. . ! January 30, 1905

37. Nebraska, Alpha of Nebraska December 23, 1895

17. College of the City of New York, Gamma of New York. . .July 24, 1867

14. New York University, Beta of New York December 23, 1858

57. North Carolina, Alpha of North Carolina November 7, 1904

29. Northwestern, Alpha of Illinois February 18, 1890

64. Oberlin, Zeta of Ohio November 8, 1907

60. Ohio State, Epsilon of Ohio December 8, 1904

65. Ohio Wesleyan, Eta of Ohio November 9, 1907

33. Pennsylvania, Delta of Pennsylvania December 9, 1892

48. Princeton, Beta of New Jersey r June 7, 1899

27. Rochester, Iota of New York April 20, 1887

19. Rutgers, Alpha of New Jersey February 22, 1869

49. St. Lawrence, Lambda of New York June 24, 1899

55. Smith, Zeta of Massachusetts October 19, 1904

56. Stanford, Beta of California November 1, 1904

40. Swarthmore, Epsilon of Pennsylvania June 9, 1896

39. Syracuse, Kappa of New York February 10, 1896

62. Texas, Alpha of Texas February 2, 1905

8. Trinity, Beta of Connecticut July 2, 1845

32. Tufts, Delta of Massachusetts November 18, 1892

71. Tulane, Alpha of Louisiana February 26, 1909

5. Union, Alpha of New York May 1, 1817

51. Vanderbilt, Alpha of Tennessee November 5, 1901

40. Vassar, Mu of New York April 7, 1899

11. Vermont, Alpha of Vermont March 7, 1848

70. Virginia, Beta of Virginia June 16, 1908

41. Wabash, Beta of Indiana November 7, 1898

75. Washington and Lee, Gamma of Virginia May 5, 1911

59. Wellesley, Eta of Massachusetts November 14, 1904

9. Wesleyan, Gamma of Connecticut July 7, 1845

72. West Virginia, Alpha of West Virginia December 5, 1910

10. Western Reserve, Alpha of Ohio October 28, 1847

1. William and Mary, Alpha of Virginia December 5, 1776

16. Williams, Gamma of Massachusetts July 30, 1864

44. Wisconsin, Alpha of Wisconsin February 2, 1899

2. Yale, Alpha of Connecticut November 13, 1780




On March 5, 1880, a petition was drawn up to be sent to the Union
chapter, the Alpha of New York, asking for a charter of Phi Beta Kappa
for Cornell. It was signed by President White and Professors Flagg
(Greek), Oliver (mathematics), Peck (Latin), Perkins (Latin and Greek),
Shackford (rhetoric and general literature), Wait (mathematics), and
H. S. White (German). On March 15, 1880, President Potter of Union
College acknowledged the receipt of the petition and added that it would
be "cordially furthered." On June 12 Professor H. S. White wrote to the
president of the Union chapter asking for information regarding the ap-
plication. No answer having been received up to May 11, 1881, it was
then decided to inform the Union chapter that in default of action by
them the Cornell petitioners were ready to apply to Harvard. On June
1, 1881, however, the petitioners were informed that Union had granted
the petition in 1880, but that through some oversight the Cornellians had
not received the information. In the spring of 1882 the matter was again
taken up, and the charter, dated May 20, 1882, was transmitted to Ithaca
by mail. Cornell was thus the last chapter established before the forma-
tion of the United Chapters. It is the twenty-fourth in the order of es-
tablishment. The traditional date of organization is May 28, 1882. The
following were then added to the list of original members: Professors
Hale (Latin), Tuttle (international law), and M. C. Tyler (American
history and literature).

The object of the Society was declared in the original constitution to
be "the promotion of literature and friendly intercourse among scholars."
Its motto was "to indicate that Philosophy (which is understood to indi-
cate Religion as well as Ethics) is worthy of cultivation as the guide of
life." There were to be graduate, undergraduate, and honorary members.
No injunction of secrecy was to be imposed. Both men and women were
eligible for membership; Cornell was thus the second chapter to admit
women. High scholarship, with a generally good character, was the basis
of election. Only Juniors and Seniors in whose courses a knowledge of
Latin was required were eligible for membership. Not more than ten
undergraduates could be chosen from one class; not more than five of
these could be Juniors. In 1888 the maximum number of students was
raised from ten to twelve. In 1900, in consequence of the introduction of
the elective system, all undergraduates were made eligible whose work
had been done for the most part in languages, history, political science,
and philosophy (including education); in 1906 mathematics was added to
this list. The number that could be elected was in 1900 made one-fifth of
all those eligible, of whom one-fifteenth could be Juniors; in 1906 the
maximum number of Juniors was made one-tenth. In the same year
graduate students of the humanities were also declared eligible for mem-

The first election of undergraduates was held on April 30 and May
10, 1883. In 1884-5 sixty-five members were elected from the classes of


1869-82. Five members have also been elected from the Faculty: Professors
Goldwin Smith (1880), Crane (1888), Schurman (1888), J. M. Hart (1891),
and McMahon (1891).

The following are the present statistics of the Cornell Chapter:

Elected by the Chapter 545

Members of other chapters who have at any time been mem-
bers of the Theta of New York 218

Total 763

Deceased 38

Resident at present in Ithaca 149

The chapter has published the following:

The Cornell Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (Theta of New York). 1906.
The constitution, with a catalogue, by J. McMahon and C. S. Northup.

Academic Freedom. By Charles William Eliot. 1907. An address de-
livered at the quarter-centennial anniversary of the chapter, May 29, 1907.

Address to the Initiates, April 21, 1909. By James McMahon. 1909.

The Function of the Leader in Scholarship. By Lane Cooper. 1911.
Delivered May 30, 1911.


To President Andrew D. White and Professors Isaac Flagg, James E.

Oliver, Tracy Peck, William R. Perkins, Lucien A. Wait, Charles C.

Shackford, Horatio S. White, brethren of the Phi Beta Kappa, the

Alpha of New York sends greeting:

WHEREAS, By a resolution of the Alpha of New York it has been
deemed expedient to establish a branch of the Phi Beta Kappa, in connec-
tion with Cornell University, at Ithaca, in the State of New York, now-,
therefore, by virtue and in pursuance of the aforesaid resolution, we do
hereby incorporate and establish you, the above Andrew D. White, Isaac
Flagg, Charles C. Shackford, James E. Oliver, Tracy Peck, William R.
Perkins, Lucien A. Wait, and Horatio S. White, with such others as you
may associate with yourselves, in conformity with the laws of the Phi
Beta Kappa, herewith transmitted, into a separate and distinct branch of
said Society, to be known and called by the name of the "Theta of New
York" ; hereby granting unto you and your successors . all the powers,
privileges, and benefits thereunto appertaining, in as full and ample a
manner as we enjoy the same.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, We have hereunto set our hands, and affixed the

seal of the Society, at Schenectady, in the State of New York, this

Twentieth day of May, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and


J. A. DE REMER, President,
CADY STALEY, Treasurer,




(Substantially as recommended by the National Council, 1889.)

I. This Society is one of the co-ordinate branches of the body known
as THE UNITED CHAPTERS OF THE PHI BETA KAPPA, and shall be called the
Theta Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society in the State of New York.

II. The object of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is the promotion of
scholarship and friendship among students and graduates of American

The members of the Chapter shall be elected primarily from the best
scholars of the graduating classes of the college, secondly from those
graduates of any college whose post-graduate work of this university en-
titles them to such honor, and lastly from any persons distinguished in
letters, science, or education; provided, however, that the selection from
each graduating class shall not exceed one-fourth of the number graduated.
But the Chapter may make further limitations or restrictions. [See the
By-Laws, II, III.}

IV. In addition to scholarship, good moral character shall be a quali-
fication of membership, and any member who is found to have lost this
qualification may be expelled from the Society by a four-fifths vote of the
members present at a regular annual meeting of the Society.

V. This Chapter shall send a delegation to represent it at each
National Council of the United Chapters, shall contribute its equal part
to the financial support of the United Chapters, and shall conform to the
Constitution of the United Chapters and all the lawful requirements of
the National Council.

VI. This Chapter shall, by the enactment of suitable by-laws, provide
for its election of officers, the initiation of members, the conduct of its
meetings, and for such 'other matters as it may deem wise so to regulate.

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Online LibraryPhi Beta KappaA Catalogue of the Cornell chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (Theta of New York) : 1882-1912 → online text (page 1 of 4)